Explore This Program

Overview

Aspire programs are designed for adults who identify with an ASD, Asperger’s or similar social profile. Participants come to Aspire with a broad range of abilities, interests, and personalities, and they all have the potential to grow and change. Success and personal growth look different in every individual we serve.

At Aspire, we create a safe space where our adult participants feel a sense of belonging and empowered to advocate for their own needs and preferences. Our process begins with Aspire staff getting to know each participant as an individual and learning more about their unique strengths and abilities, areas for growth, personal and professional goals, and special interests.

Through our multi-disciplinary approach, our experienced staff help participants to maximize their strengths and further define their identity, manage stress and anxiety effectively, and meet new social and independence demands as adults. Skill development may include setting and achieving personal goals, fostering healthy relationships, navigating community living and adult life, and increasing emotional awareness and capacity to manage stress.

For adults looking for work-related support, the Aspire Works program helps participants navigate the work environment, gain important on-the-job skills and achieve professional goals. These services include our flagship internship program, one-on-one career coaching and skill-building workshops.

Aspire’s year-round adult programming includes weekly social groups, special events, summer Explorations and Transitions programs, the Aspire Works Internship Program and Career Coaching services. View our current adult programming schedule here.

 

Social Groups

Adult social groups meet year-round, once per week for 75-90 minutes. Participants are “matched’ in a peer cohort of four to eight participants, led by Aspire staff. By placing participants in small, similar-age peer groups, staff are able to provide “real-life” opportunities for learning and skill-building around special interests that are inherently motivating to our participants. Aspire group leaders use the excitement and motivation of these shared passions to teach and practice skills through structured activities and with the support of real-time feedback.

Group themes may change annually. Examples of adult group themes include collaborative gaming, relationships, hiking and group outings.

Special events provide additional opportunities for our adult participants to foster healthy relationships, practice skills across settings, and learn from shared experiences. Aspire staff provide structured fun using highly motivating activities to facilitate engagement in a group setting.

For more information, follow this link to view our School Year Frequently Asked Questions.

Summer

Explorations is a six-week weekday summer program where teens and adults, aged 14-19 years old, participate in supported recreational and social activities while learning a variety of practical life skills out in the community. Topics include money management, trip planning, using public transportation, peer negotiation and time management. Participants are placed into small cohorts of 5-6 peers. Throughout the summer, participants will have opportunities to engage with other cohorts and participants within the program. Participants are encouraged to balance their needs with those of the group. Community trips take place throughout the metro Boston area (Faneuil Hall, Prudential Center, movie theater, bowling, museums, and restaurants) and typically utilize public transportation. 

Transitions is a six-week weekday summer program where teens and adults, aged 16-22 years old, participate in group activities and practice skills that support the transition to work and college environments. Participants are placed at a volunteer work site two days per week where they receive job coaching and career skill training. Participants are placed at the volunteer work sites in groups of three participants with one Aspire Transition Specialist on site. When not at their work site, participants engage in college exploration, recreational activities, and team-building activities within a larger group of their peers.

View samples of the Explorations and Transitions schedules.

For more information, follow this link to view our Explorations and Transitions Frequently Asked Questions.

College Coaching

Aspire offers college coaching services to support students, aged 14-22 years, with the exploration of and transition to college. For pre-college students, Aspire coaches work collaboratively with teens and parents to set personal goals for college and explore programs supportive of neurodiverse students. Once in college, our individualized coaching is available to help address goals and needs in the following areas:

  • Making connections on campus
  • Strategies to improve executive function and adulting skills
  • Skill building in the area of self-advocacy
  • Facilitating access to supportive services
  • Support for wellness and mental health needs.

College Coaching Fee:  $150 per 50-minute session.  Sessions may be conducted in-person or virtually.

Internship Program

The Aspire Works Internship Program provides a strengths and skills-based internship opportunity for neurodiverse adults seeking short-term experience and exposure to the workforce. Aspire programming offers structured support to help adults navigate the transition into the workforce and build essential on-the-job skills. Our internship participants are carefully matched with Aspire’s employer partners. Our Career Coaches provide on-going training and consultation, creating positive and fulfilling work experiences for all. 

Internship Participants:  

  • Adults 18+ years old.
  • On the autism spectrum with an Asperger profile, or adults who identify with a related social-cognitive profile. 
  • Capable and ready to contribute their technical/professional skills to the workplace.
  • Motivated to engage in self-reflection and learn. 
  • Driven towards independence.
  • While our participants are typically skilled in various aspects of a job or task, they often have challenges navigating the social world and understanding a work culture. 

Internship Structure: 

  • Work hours are typically 10-40 hours per week for 10-12 weeks per session.
  • Placements can be in person, hybrid, or fully remote (determined by company).
  • Weekly virtual career coaching sessions with the intern and employer manager to provide wrap-around support and supported feedback.
  • On-site visits from Career Coach at the beginning, middle, and end of internship.
  • Weekly 75-minute virtual group seminars to engage in structured learning, peer feedback and connectivity, and skill-building.

Internship Goals: 

  • To engage in a work experience that targets skills and strengths, while also helping to recognize and address any weaknesses.
  • To learn and practice workplace “soft skills” such as communication, flexibility, business etiquette, etc.
  • To prepare and practice for future employment (part-time, full-time, another internship).
  • To build self-awareness and a personal workplace toolbox through structured self-reflection in individual and group meetings.

Group Seminar:  

Internship participants meet as a group weekly, with their Career Coach, to discuss their work experiences and receive on-going support related to the workplace. Seminar topics include:  

  • The basics of starting a job 
  • Receiving supervision and feedback 
  • Attitude and work ethic 
  • Perspective taking 
  • The “hidden curriculum” at work 
  • Job search 
  • Interview skills 
  • Small talk/communication 
  • Social behavior 
  • Handling stress on the job
  • Disclosure/self-advocacy in the workplace

Career Coaching:  

Aspire interns are mentored by our highly trained Career Coaches. Our Career Coaches help participants to integrate into their company placement and successfully navigate the workplace environment. Career Coaches additionally support the employer partner, through an initial workshop and ongoing consultation, sharing best practices and providing strategies specific to their intern. 

Employer Partners: 

Aspire has worked with over 60 employer partners in the Metro-Boston Area including Fidelity, The Broad, Liberty Mutual, Raytheon, Insurance Auto Auctions, Inc, Massachusetts General Hospital, Safelite AutoGlass, MFA, and Massachusetts Audubon. Our employer partners are motivated to develop a more inclusive and neurodiverse workplace environment. Intern placement depends on each participant’s unique skillset, aptitude, personal goals as well as the unique needs of each employer. Employers receive an initial neurodiversity training and ongoing support from our expert Career Coaches throughout the internship placement. 

Internship Program Application Process:  

Applicants submit the following:

Interview Process: 

  • An Aspire Career Coach will schedule an interview to meet the applicant and better understand their skills, strengths, areas of need, and goals.
  • Aspire will begin the matching process by communicating with our Employer Partners.

Matching Process: 

  • Aspire will match each participant with a job site based on their availability, location and transportation options, interests, skills, goals, and needs.
  • When matched, participants have the option to:
    • Accept or decline position
    • If declined, Aspire will seek a second appropriate match
    • If there is no appropriate match, applicant has the option to defer participation to the next internship session.

Internship Placement: 

  • Aspire Career Coach provides interview and onboarding support
  • Intern begins work placement, career coaching and group seminar.


For more information on the Aspire Works Internship Program, read our Frequently Asked Questions, or reach out to us at 781-860-1900 or mghaspire@partners.org.

Career Coaching

Aspire offers 1:1 Career Coaching to support neurodiverse adults seeking to develop and achieve short-term and long-term professional goals. Whether this includes learning new workplace skills, building upon established success, managing relationships with co-workers or supervisors, or embarking on a career transition, our expert staff are here to support you.

Participants are matched with an Aspire Career Coach who collaborates with you to support your employment goals.

Common goals and focus areas of Career Coaching include:

  • Preparing for and navigating the job search (resume, cover letter, and interview skills)
  • Tools for time, schedule, and task management
  • Strategies to reduce work-related anxiety and manage stress
  • Self-Advocacy and disclosure in the workplace
  • Professional etiquette in a virtual world.

Career Coaching Fee:  $150 per 50-minute session.  Sessions may be conducted in-person or virtually.


Employer Services

Learn more about Aspire's Corporate Consultation Services here, or submit our online Consultation Services Inquiry form and one of our staff members will reach out to you by phone to discuss in detail.